12th July 2010
Roy Workman enjoyed a great day out in the countryside with Geoff Duke's Continental and an Oriental Boxer, among other classic bikes...
This annual show is held at Thorpe Latimer, near Swaton, about 15 miles from Sleaford in Lincolnshire. This was the fifteenth Vintage Day and Country Fair held here. This is a good, one-day show with over 400 vintage and classic cars, tractors, motorcycles, commercial vehicles and stationary engines on display
I arrived just before 9am to find three other motorcycles already there. Two of these belonged to Jonathan Bourne, the motorcycle co-ordinator for the show - these were a Triumph Bonneville and a BSA 350cc. He was standing chatting to the first public entrant who had been shown to his allotted spot in the field. I was duly positioned alongside him, with two sidecar outfits together. Dave, the other sidecar owner, had a fairly new Royal Enfield and Watsonian sidecar, so we had plenty to talk about. I was a bit surprised when Dave dragged out his garden parasol from the depths of the sidecar, complete with a cast iron base. We erected this between the two outfits, and it proved to be a life saver later on, as it turned out to be the hottest day of the year so far.
Gradually the field filled up; a couple of the early arrivals included a 1964 Honda 125 and a Royal Enfield Continental. The RE had been presented to Geoff Duke by the factory in February 1965, when he had helped in the development of this model. Both of these machines were in a very nice condition.
Eventually a chap called Robert turned up with his Chinese copy BMW, attached to a sidecar; this was a sidevalve model. It looked very good, and the local newspaper took photographs of it. Robert said that the front brake was not the best, and he said that life could get exciting riding this bike. I can remember riding a BMW R51/3 outfit in the 1960s and the brakes were nowhere near as good as those on my sprung hub Triumph outfit.
Jonathon had passed his goal of 100 bikes at the show last year and was hoping for a similar number this year. He had 70 bikes booked in; however ride-ins were welcome. The AJS/Matchless Club turned up, and with some others, a total of 110 bikes was reached. Jonathan was delighted with this outcome. We wound him up by saying that we wanted even more bikes next year, and gave him some more ideas about advertising the show next time.
Swaton Brewery supplied all of the beer, and being that this was the day that England played Germany at football in the World Cup the people running the beer tent had installed a television in the back of the tent. I thought the match might affect the crowd coming in; however the show seemed as busy as ever.
There were lots of good bikes on show, including an Ariel Square 4, a two- piper model that the owner had owned for forty years, complete with an Avon handlebar fairing.
Being a country fair there was a lot of variety - a commercial vehicles display, followed by a dog show, and next came a tractor parade, then the important parade - that of the motorcycles! Then came terrier racing with the dogs chasing a mock rabbit across the field; some dogs got a bit lost. This was followed by a classic car parade. Later there was an egg- throwing competition; this is generally a messy affair. This year saw the return of the egg trebuchet. The contestants have to pre-construct a gravity-powered egg-hurling device to launch an egg to a team member; these eggs can travel quite quickly, and the team member tries to catch the egg. This was funny.
This show is very well organised, with plenty of motorcyclists to talk to. The show is totally non-profit making, with the proceeds going to a variety of charities. This year over £5000 was raised.
The show is held on the last Sunday in June. If you wish to enter your motorcycle then contact Jonathan Bourne on 01529 421478 nearer the date next year. There is also a web-site on www.swatonvintageday.com that you can look at. Entry forms will be available on the site closer to the time of next year's show.
It is a good show, well worth coming along to.
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